Yes, your uninsured motorist coverage is the same as underinsured coverage. However, here in California your insurance coverage does not "stack" on top of the third party coverage. Your insurance receives an offset for any amount recovered from the other driver. They would also receive an offset for any benefit received from your employer if this was a work injury.
Unfortunately, under these circumstances it appears that the $15,000 that you have in your own coverage will be negated after subtracting the $15,000 from the other driver.
If you have medical bills outstanding you can attempt to negotiate the total owed to a manageable sum, or you could set up a payment plan. If you have health insurance, they should be responsible for any charges. However, they would then likely be entitled to a portion of your recovery from the other driver. They would not be able to take it all though.
Before accepting the policy limits from the other driver, you will want to make sure there are no other possible recovery sources. For example, confirm that the other driver was not working at the time of the accident. If he was in the course and scope of employment, then you could pursue the employer for a full recovery.
This response applies to California Law only and does not create any legal relationship between the attorney and the person who submitted the question.
Unfortunately your UM coverage does not kick in. The whole rationale behind UM coverage in California is that UM coverage applies if you have a bigger UM policy than the adverse driver has in liability coverage. For example, if the adverse driver had no insurance and you had 50k then you could go after 50k of your UM. If the adverse driver had 15k and you had 50k then you could go after 35k. But if adverse driver had 50K or more and you had 50k then there is no UM for you.
no your policy is offset by the underlying $15k - no effective coverage. You will need to negotiate your medical bills or look for financial assistance from the medical facilities. Make sure you know whether the other driver owned the subject vehicle, if they were in the course and scope of employment, or have the ability to pay beyond their policy coverage.
Attorney Padilla gave you the scoop on this issue. My belated advice is as follows: Call your insurance rep and tell him to provide you with the largest possible UM/UIM for potential future accidents. Also, check my guide on UM/UIM here in my web page. Best of luck.
This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.